Who tends to the healer's scars

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Doctors in India operation on a patient

Dr Abhishek Kumar followed standard protocol.
Before you read a single line more, you need to realize this - he did exactly what every doctor in his place would do. 

The first year post-graduate student and his colleague were called to the emergency department at 3 am to attend to four patients who had arrived at the R G Kar Medical College Hospital following a road traffic accident. Having tended to three, Dr Abhishek correctly diagnosed that the fourth patient seemed worse than the others. So he did the sensible thing - he stabilized the patient and sent him for a diagnostic scan to rule out the presence of any hidden injuries within. The standard protocol followed in hospitals all over the world.   

And that is why he is still in the intensive care unit today battling to breathe, with severe muscle damage, internal injuries, struggling with kidney failure and requiring dialysis at the age of 31.

Having left his care, the patient took a turn for the worse while undergoing a scan and passed away. And just like that, the handful of good Samaritans who brought the patient to the hospital turned from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde, mushrooming from 5 to 50 as they returned to the emergency department. Abhishek's female colleague was rescued and locked up inside the operation theatre before the mob could get their claws on her. Abhishek was not so lucky. Brutalized by the mob, he remains in ICU even today ten days later, as I type this, his prognosis guarded.

But of course, you don't care. 

Dr Abhishek Kumar followed standard protocol. If it were a temple, he dutifully removed his sandals before entering. If he were a flight attendant, he respectfully bowed and welcomed you aboard his plane. He did the right thing and you tore him apart.

I wish that I could say that he was a minority Muslim or a Dalit. Which word is it, pray tell me, which? Which word is it that will trigger some emotion in you to care for him? Indian? Modi? Rahul? AAP? Secular? Beef? Nationalist?  

A group of six who brutally raped a blameless woman aboard a moving bus rightfully brought out all the pent-up collective rage within you all and forced a nation to change its laws. Unfortunately, Abhishek chose to be a doctor in India - one of less than 9 lakh in a country of a billion and a half - a blameless man who was assaulted by a violent mob of fifty to the extent that his kidneys stopped functioning, yet is deemed unworthy of even your basic sympathy simply because the tag of being a doctor removes his identity. You are so sure he is guilty in some way because in your mind the present day doctors of India are money minded, soulless gold diggers who deserve to be assaulted - the same way you are okay when violence befalls members of a caste or religion different from yours. Revenge for the sins of the guilty extracted upon the innocent.  

I had spoken about this earlier here - the innocent being
victimized for doing the right thing. 

Can I talk to you in different groups please?
The words may be harsh or polite but I need you to listen. Because, like Dr Abhishek, I too follow standard protocols and now, I know that 

  • I may lose my life for it and 
  • you won't even care when I get killed for staying awake at night looking out for you.

To The General Public:

My dear friends, you do not realize it yet but you are inadvertently promoting a cycle that hurts us both. Allow me to explain -

  1. When you beat me for the natural death of a patient, I will be more inclined the next time a similar case comes to refer it to a higher tertiary center equipped with better facilities and security. 
  2. The patient will still unfortunately pass away if the disease or trauma has progressed too far, but 
  3. you have now paid twice the amount for it while inadvertently wasting precious time. 
  4. More importantly, since doctors now have to be legally prudent, I will follow protocol and demand all investigations to rule out any other systemic involvements rather than trusting my instincts and knowledge.
  5. That angers you and when the outcome remains the same, a new cycle of violence and mistrust is born within you. 
  6. And a new bunch of doctors realize they are better off referring the patient to a higher center than take on a risky case in a secondary center themselves. 

You need to end the cycle. You need to end the violence. You need to stand up and speak for us because our voices do not matter. Rest assured, we are doing the best with what we have.
  • There are less than 10 documented countries with a smaller doctor:patient ratio than India, as per WHO's own workforce statistics
  • The likes of South Sudan and Lao are among the ten countries whose governments spend less (% of GDP) on their people than India. 
What that means in layman terms is that there will always be a shortage of doctors in India for a population of a billion. What it means is that with government spending on your healthcare so abysmal, the burden of paying for expensive drugs and procedures will fall upon your wallet instead of theirs. If you want more money spent on your own health by the government, demand it from them instead of talking over and over about temples and reservations. Because to us, the health of the community overweighs factors like religious iconography and caste.  

It will take at least a minimum of a 100% rise in public healthcare spending from the government and a decade of fresh new doctors to make up for the back log and deficiencies. You can trash us all if you don't believe me but you can't change facts. In the end, you may be left with only ayurvedic noodles to keep you hale and hearty if you kill all of us.

To my fellow Doctors -

I know how confused you are right now. You no longer know what is the correct procedure to follow as even doing everything right can get you killed. The apathy from the powers above you - the media, hospitals, the LAW ENFORCERS themselves and even our own medical bodies & ministries - leaves you feeling orphaned. I wish I could say it will get better. But I fear that there will be darker nights ahead before we see the first rays of sunshine. And so I say this to you: 

Stand up for your peers across the country instead of continuing an 'ostrich in the sand' attitude. Just because it does not happen in your city today doesn't mean that it will not happen tomorrow. Each act of violence that goes unpunished emboldens a new set of violent goons to carry it out in a new location.

Another day, another unreported case of violence against doctors

Demand that CCTVs be made compulsory in high tension areas within the hospital including the casualty and ICU. If nothing else, it may make a potential assaulter think twice.

Kindly stop with these idiotic black ribbon protests. It means nothing to anyone outside the hospital doors. Stand up and speak your mind on social media and be heard.

In the face of violence, stand up for your peers. The new system of local doctor groups via whatsapp (wherein at the possibility of violence, an SOS is sent and doctors converge from all nearby areas) is actually successful till date, though I wish it were unnecessary. 

Understand this, the first time a hand is raised to strike you, the doctor-patient relationship ends and you are now a victim of a crime. Defend yourselves accordingly.

Seniors, stand up for your juniors instead of belittling them and talking of the good old days... there has never been more mob violence against doctors in India than in the last five years. You know it too. Comparing eras accomplishes nothing... I repeat  over and over again, Dr Abhishek followed standard protocol. He did exactly what you have done a thousand times over the years and paid the price for correctly identifying a patient in distress. The rules have changed and the goalposts keep moving. The new generation of doctors need your guidance and support now. They need the power of your authority to stand up and have your voice heard, defending them. Stand up. Be heard.

Stand up. 
Stand up. 
Stand up. 

To the News channels and papers:

My first tweet on this topic ended with an expletive directed at you. I am sorry. You hear enough expletives for whatever you say, whether you choose one opinion or the other. 

The simple truth is that at some point before it is too late, I do hope you introspect. I do hope you find it in you to connect the dots we struggle so hard to point out over and over again and that you become proactive as a voice of change. 

Every time you ignore an act of violence against doctors while magically appearing to showcase the harm done by doctors on strike to protest this violence, the disillusionment within a thousand members of a new young generation increases and they wonder whether they should treat the next patient who is rushed into casualty or send him or her away. That is truly disheartening... Someday, that could be your parent or child. Someday that could be mine. 

Yes, we are flawed as doctors and will be found wanting at times... but we are not killers. And we do not deserve to be lynched for doing the right thing.
Your absence is a key link in this chain of violence. We need you to step in.

To the Hospitals -

Stop looking for a compromise. Violence in any form is a crime. If you know standard protocol has been followed, then you know you have a duty to stand up for the victim instead of worrying about a decreased footfall once the public finds out your hospital gets goons arrested. 
By deliberately suppressing such news and asking the doctor to suffer the lacerations and bruises silently for the sake of your reputation, you come off no better than an archaic khap panchayat that forces the rape victim to accept 5000 rupees and a billy goat as compensation for the loss of her dignity and self belief. Except we end up paying for our own billy goats even after being assaulted with nary a compensation from your side, is it not?

Stop being stingy on security, especially in today's India. Hire appropriate man power.
You needed us to work well beyond our shifts over so many nights to make up the case load. We need you now to defend us so that we can confidently give our best for you. 

To the Medical authorities -

At this point of time, it would be nothing short of a miracle if you were to stand up and fight strongly for our rights. Over the last one year, the one advantage I have had over doctors of the previous generation thanks to the rise of social media is the ability to reach out and connect with doctors beyond just my hospital or local IMA. I am in direct contact with doctors working in over a dozen states, am a part of various medical groups exclusive to doctors across all fields, ranging from interns & students to super-specialists and  ex-/present heads of IMA.

Not one doctor - I repeat, not a single one - came out with a comment suggesting we could rely upon the powers-that-be to help us. Can you begin to fathom how disillusioned we are with you? Your silence in this case - as in every other case prior - remains deafening to the ears of every doctor here in India, rest assured. Dr Abhishek had a better chance of being cared for after being hit by a train than after being one of the members of the medical family you head, for all the apathy you display.

So to you, I would say - Don't do anything. Bhai, tu rehne dePlease do not strain yourself trying to help lest you pull a muscle. Instead, could you find it in you to redirect some energy towards:

a) Fighting to get the healthcare spending by the government raised from the appalling 1.3% it is right now (the same healthcare funding you cut by 20% in 2014 prompting even the Lancet to wonder what you were up to). I need to ask this here though - forget 1% of doctors, is there a single doctor in India who felt that cutting funding to healthcare spending on the public was the right move? 

b) Actually equip the rural areas where you want doctors to serve with medicines & surgical instruments, instead of sending newbie interns empty handed to get trashed there just to make up your deficits. Teaching a warrior how to use a sword is good; sending him to battle and expecting him to fight without that sword is foolhardy. 

If you are capable of none of these things or you just need to continue appeasing the powers above you by showing how much money you saved, then I really don't think anything more needs to be said. Nonetheless, I will leave you with three words that were taught to me... three of the most important words in medical history. They are words that resonate with every doctor in some form or the other within his heart before he takes on a difficult patient. Today, I say these words to you: 

"Primum non nocere." 
  First, do no harm.

Eight months after my post went viral, today I remain more convinced than ever that I was right. I still would never allow my children to become doctors in India for exactly the same reasons as I typed down that day. 

The only counter to my stand is idealism - an idealism that says being a doctor and saving lives is a honour. And the funny thing is that it isn't a counter at all - for I totally concur with you. The day you realize that there is a difference between the above mentioned idealism and the fatally flawed Indian medical system that needs to be urgently reviewed, rehauled and reborn, you will instantly see why the majority of doctors in India (and even China) no longer wish their children become doctors.

Increasing medical expenses and patient expectations, a woefully understaffed medical system struggling to find the right balance between quantity & quality of care, poor health awareness, wavering ethical choices, loss of trust and of course, a readiness for violence against easy targets.
These are the key ingredients that led to the breakdown of the hallowed doctor-patient trust.

Unlike us, China at least chose to acknowledge it - the first step towards a corrective course - after nearly 40% of their health personnel admitted they planned to quit the medical field for fear of their lives.

My selflessness is as a healer, going into the belly of every ailment and contagion, fighting microbes and relieving pain. It is a selflessness that takes me away from my own family and makes me giggle at dreamy concepts like 48 working hours a week.
It does not however include violence.

I need to be practical even in what codes the oath of Hippocrates require of me. And part of being practical includes the common sense to realize that I need to be alive to serve everyone. Being beaten up because a man who drove while inebriated and rammed into a pole died in the hospital is not an option to me. Being killed because I refuse to reveal the sex of your baby during a prenatal ultrasound scan is not an option for me. Being beaten up because your elder relative dies of lung and liver failure after decades of substance abuse is not an option to me.

I have spent the last 16 years literally living in hospitals across the country for you.
But dying for you is not an option.
I'm sorry.  I am just not that selfless.
And I fear you will find in the days to come, neither are the other members of my Indian medical community anymore.

It is time for some serious soul-searching, India. Doctors need your help to end this cycle of violence NOW.
Authors note -

Image courtesy: Dr Ajmal
Dr Abhishek in the ICU following dialysis. 

I don't want your prayers for him. 
I have more faith in the doctors working day and night for his survival than your fleeting sentiments.
I want your shame.  
You should be ashamed of yourselves for proving me correct. Every bone in your body should have been itching to prove me wrong when I said that I would rather have my child be a pole dancer than a doctor in India. 
What is even more painful is that all of us doctors voicing our opinions so strongly together for the first time ever (from first year MBBS students to ex-heads of IMA) still could not elicit stronger action to curb violence against doctors. We could not matter to you. 
And I really wish it weren't so.

We could have saved Dr Abhishek and all the others who work into the night to save your loved ones had we - had I - been able to convince you all to end this cycle of violence we are stuck in. 
I want you to introspect, India. I want you to do some serious soul searching.
Before another healer gets scarred for life.


Post a Comment


Let me know what you think.

  1. As I said previously Roshan, I have no words to describe everything that's going on. Having said that, I echo your words and say that this violence must stop. And it is a cycle. A truly vicious one at that and one that has repercussions in other ways.
    I will continue to have respect for doctors for the life savers you are; but we as a country and a race, must protect you too.

    1. Sid, as I pointed out... the assault on him meant nothing to any media person anywhere. I see one national newspaper has a 400 word post on it. That is all. A guy who dedicated a decade to being a doctor and did his job properly was assaulted by 50 people and nobody cared.
      Unless the sensible crowd like you and so many fellow bloggers come out and speak, there is no voice for these doctors.

  2. I am speechless at the moment. I don't understand what's wrong with people!!!

    1. Think of our plight... show us how to undo this.

  3. This is exactly why many few months back said India has become INTOLERANT! It's not something that's happened in a past few months though. It's been happening but no one makes a big deal out of it, probably afraid of being beaten up themselves. I really hope this gets viral and reaches the right people and there is some CHANGE!
    I was chocked up to breaking into a cry reading the article. SO MANY unjust incidents and no action has been taken. This is such a joke on Indian Laws. Reminds me about the recent incident of the comedian being arrested for mere mockery of some apparent "Godman!" And here a DOCTOR whom we humans actually consider to be equivalent to God is beaten up for not being able to save a life! OUTRAGEOUS!
    I pray for doctor Abhishek's speedy recovery and may there be justice!

    1. If I am not wrong, the Godman incident happened at roughly the same time - look at the difference in perception. That was national news... this was regular everyday stuff. Already doctors are phoning in not just to say they agree but to also tell me they really don't see a way out of this circle. And I realize how much pain is there in that thought and how little this article can do to really cause a change but I have to try. Somebody has to try.

  4. At first instance the mob that is committing this massacre are general public.

    General public doing this due to their ignorance, just as there is less awareness about their own health system.

    Indian citizens are intentionally kept like this in ignorance or dark only for their greedy power hungry by monsters, also worshipped as their leaders.

    Only the illiterate or uneducated crowd can accept them as leaders. Hence they are kept illiterate.

    So it's the politicians who are the etiological source of all these Menace.

    If there is more delay in legal and political reforms, much more darker days are to be witnessed ahead.

    Not to convince, but as a fact there is much more injustice and day light robbery by have's in every domain of this competitive world.

    1. You have a point... more often than not, the mob which 'magically' appears do give threats citing their political clout.

  5. I wish i could contribute positively to this discussion. However, I cannot. For I am disillusioned by the treatment of us doctors in India. There have been way too many incidents, witnessed ,heard or experienced of us being manhandled. Now that I've moved to Tata Memorial Hospital, I am amazed at the hard work that each and every single doctor there puts in......consultant or resident or fellow. And at the end of the day, one comes home with aching feet, neck, back. ...you name it, he opens the paper to hear of yet another case of assault. 😯😕 ice given up. I think we should just hope that the next generation is wise enough to give due respect to our profession. Until then, those of us who are lucky enough to leave the country, do so. ....those of you who manage to dissuade ur kids from practising medicine here. ...congratulations! While I am going to share this post, hoping and praying this goes viral as well! Maybe, just maybe, we can hope for change.

    1. I've known you since PG days and I remember all our discussions on Whatsapp too when you reached Mumbai and regarding the pros/cons of each hospital and how it would affect your daily life.
      I've also sadly watched it drain that enthusiasm and that is something perhaps no non-medico can understand. Yes, do whatever you feel makes you happy and do not compromise on your one life for the sake of this.
      Rest on Whatsapp :)

  6. I feel your pain, Roshan. We are too caught up being selfish, too ready to attack, too slow to appreciate service. We've had our share of wonderful doctors and know how hard they work, practically round the clock. Sadly, people let one experience with one professional color their entire perception. Here's wishing for a more compassionate world.

    1. Even if you have had a bad experience, there are legal ways to deal with it. But beating up doctors every Time someone dies... How do we counter that? And death can occur inspite of all the best efforts of a team of wonderful doctors. Should they all cower inside worrying about their lives?

    2. No. Definitely not! After all, they're healers and deserve respect and love.

    3. At this point of time, we would gladly suffice with an end to violence. I still have faith in the next generation winning back the respect if given a fair chance.

  7. I am speechless and as agitated as you are. I wish our people used their hearts and brains more than their might.

    1. They don't realize what they have started. And even the police and lawmakers who force a compromise without a criminal case thus allowing the mob to go Scot free further worsens the situation by letting d public know that this form of violence is okay

  8. I guess the problem is multifactorial. Lack of a unified health system with doctors just left to face the music in a service riddled with inequities and expenses and a media which itself has little knowledge between right and wrong, good and bad.
    It is getting worse

    1. That's exactly why I've spoken to each group separately. They need to know their role and think about what needs to be changed

  9. Brutal Unjust Society of Inhumane Creatures - a tag I really wish we never have to use, but...
    Had this been a communal thing it would have taken the nation by a wave of strong driven sentiments. Had it been a political thing it would have trended on TV as headlines for days and been topic for debates in those loud 'hear me all' shows. But unfortunately this was about humanity alone with no TRP or political gain for any. This was about how people are destroying people and their own future. This was about how humanity is lost and selflessness is taken for granted. This was about 'Doctors save - You fail, you fail!' It is just so sad and the worst part - there is no one speaking about it. Forget respect, the sense of looking at a person with humanity is lost and until these mobsters (not worth being called humans) see what kind of animals they have turned into I don't know how things will change.
    Just hope - Compassion and if not much common sense builds a positive India soon else we are drowning as a nation and at a pace that is scary!

    1. None of you would even have known about this had I not blogged this. How sad is that? A man doing his job was mobbed and assaulted by over 50 people and nobody cared JUST BECAUSE they felt it was okay in his profession.
      Is his profession a thief caught red handed? Is he an army man fighting terrorists?
      No, he is a doctor who did everything right. But being a doctor was enough reason not to bother whether he is Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Dalit etc etc.
      What is wrong with people? What should the next doctor do when a similar case comes? Attend or run and hide?

  10. I don't understand what is wrong with our society, our media. Why is this incident so underreported?? You are right, we should be ashamed... Humanity has lost yet again!!

    1. humanity has been losing for awhile... I have just taken this one case. So many such cases just get ignored. But the problem is we doctors do hear about it via social media. And that just hurts more - knowing our deaths won't matter after all this because we ain't big enough to matter in the TRP ratings.

  11. We have discussed this at length.. Good you got it off your chest.. If people have to wake up, they will. You please focus on your work and don't stop doing the good deeds you have been doing all these years. :)

    1. Talk to doctors directly and you will see the disillusionment setting in. They aren't fools to be ignorant. They know they need to be safe now... and if that means sending high risk patients away instead of attending to them in hospitals with average facilities, they don't hesitate to do so anymore. And how can I blame them?

  12. I feel the pain, Roshan! It tears you apart when such incidents happen. When I wrote about Late Lt.Col.Niranjan, my blood was boiling. And the audacity to say he should be taken to task even after his death! We are merely going behind the beef ban, the porn ban, intolrence and all that crap. Nobody cares for a life in India. It's bloody murder! Who gave people the right to assault another? Why media doesn't report such crimes? When Her Highness Burkha Dutt tweeted her heart away saying Govt. is not letting out the defense plans and priorities during the Pathankot attack, little did she know that it was cos' of her the suicide attack on 26/11 was an epic success(if you know what I mean). Where is she when Dr. Abhishek was attacked? Why doesn't the nation wants to know this time? Speechless. It's just that I feel so angry and helpless at the same time. It hurts!

    1. I remember that post and I remember feeling the same level of anger. The irony that people are ready to consider political ministers with violent criminal records as GODS while treating army & medical service personnel as RUBBISH shows you exactly what India really is.
      There is no way the likes of CNN-IBN, NDTV or all the other abbreviations did not get the same news story as I did. They just felt it wasn't worth a main headline or even a damn ticker tape below the screen.
      I'm sad because nothing changed after the viral post - not one idiot in a power of position stepped forward to help curb the violence.

  13. Its so scary. At this rate, the doctors will require bodyguards. Who gives the right to mobs to attack people anyways? Why are they not arrested? Why do they feel they can get away with it? There should be some law to guard the doctors rights.

    1. Some Hospitals had started hiring actual bouncers even during the time I had written the earlier blogpost 8 months ago. Right now, I think the stage has arrived where I would request all hospitals to do the same.
      As for why they don't get arrested, in his comment above Shivranjanns rightly pointed out that most mobs that arrive at the drop of a hat to cause damage in hospitals openly flaunt their political connections. That instantly ensures the hospital backs away in 90% of the cases. And so the hospitals look for a compromise that will spare their own reputation - the victim paying the assaulter.

  14. I completely agree with you. Not only does this post need to be widely publicised but the entire problem needs to be dealt with at a national level if not international level. It is shameful how doctors cannot go on strike, cannot demand better living conditions, cannot demand a lifestyle that others get for selling soap ( FMCG types ). Most doctors especially the young ones have NO life at all, NO money and now it seems NO Respect.
    Shame on those who beat up the young doctor. May they all suffer the same fate and die a thousand deaths every moment of the day. Please bring them all to see the doctor they have "punished", take a selfie of them and let them put it on FB or Twitter or whatever social media and say " PROUD TO HAVE REDUCED A CONSCIENTIOUS DOCTOR TO A MASS OF NOTHING". This should also be put up as a hoarding in your city's main cross roads. Essentially these cowards should be publicly shamed and hopefully there will be some movement towards ensuring that Doctors get as much legal protection as the poor "women who get raped", the child labourers and other disadvantaged citizens of this country.
    Above all, I think Doctors should refuse to tend to Politicians and Parliamentarians unless their professional dignity is respected and protected.

    1. The only time a politician or parliamentarian will visit a hospital in India is when he is arrested. Then, miraculously all of them develop chest discomfort and need to be seen regularly by doctors even if there are no signs to match the symptoms. But that's a story for another day.

      It bugs me that people can happily come back home and tell their families "today, My friends and I went to that hospital and beat up a doctor and nearly killed him." They should be cowering and praying noone finds out - it is officially a goddamn non bailable criminal offence. Instead, people are so sure of getting away that you find the same set of ruffians appearing over and over again across the city in different hospitals on demand.
      And the doctors are the ones penalized for complaining. Insane!

  15. I don't have words to express how utterly helpless I feel at this incident. People thrashing up a doctor, media not caring at all, doctors feeling threatened, why is it happening this way? Isn't it common sense to respect each other, especially a doctor with who the rest of us are doomed? And why is media not reporting such attacks? I am sorry Roshan. We, the common man, is failing miserably.

    1. Imagine how we feel if you feel helpless reading this. We know now that even if we do everything correctly, we will still get beaten up based on the whims of any relative.
      As for media, well - the general discussion on this topic whenever doctors meet tends to gravitate towards the theory that we just aren't a TRP worthy community. It isn't worth it to highlight our assaults.

  16. I felt sadness and disbelief reading about all this brutality and violence against doctors in India. Unbelievable to read about all these horrific acts against doctors who are only trying to save people. So sad and senseless. What is the world coming to? Good for you for trying to change things by raising awareness. As a Canadian, this is hard for me to grasp but good to know about. Thank you for sharing. I hope and pray for change and compassion towards your doctors in India.

    1. Over the last few years, the level and frequency of these assaults have taken a horrific new level of their own. It has gotten to a point where the seniors are just numbed because it doesn't shock them anymore.
      My stand has always been towards the future - what would the new generation of doctors just entering into this field think seeing this?

  17. Thank you Dr. Roshan for creating awareness about the unfortunate incident with Dr. Abhishek. Since such news stories are hardly covered in the mainstream media, the general public remains exposed to only one generic perception about doctors - that most of them are a money minting tribe, out to scam hapless patients - and mind you, this perception plays a strong role in adding fuel to the fire - goading uncouth, illiterate and such people to morph into a crazy mob and manhandle doctors, when something goes wrong with their patient.

    It's about time that doctors and administration department at hospitals come together to sensitise people about not just the role of doctors, but also about the basic procedure and protocol that is followed in case of emergencies like accidents.

    Also it would help if we can have more doctors like you coming forward to raise awareness about the plight of doctors, doctors who can show the public the real picture from the other side - a picture that is a far cry from what we have come to believe.

    1. Ragini, I totally get what you mean. And there definitely are looters and unethical docs in our field. I can never deny that.
      But then there are legal measures to challenge even them. To resort to violence against Dr B because Dr A cheated you... if that same logic is applied across other professions, would there be a single politician spared?
      If I were cheated by one woman, do I have the right to assault every other innocent woman in India?

      What is heartbreaking is the lack of response... nobody cares. The media ignores, the police ignores and out of fear of retaliation, the hospital too chooses to compromise.

      Your point about spreading awareness on how to manage the first stages of emergencies or even identify them is something I probably will take up in the days to come.

      As for more healers coming forward and talking, I would love that too. Hopefully, this will motivate more people to do so.

  18. I have seen first hand a good doctor become disillusioned by such instance and give up practice. Our doctors should not have to face this, not just because they have a very difficult job that they choose to do because they are just brilliant human beings but because they are human. That fact alone should be enough to stop any brutal abuse and harassment toward them. Alas! You are right, we should be ashamed! We should be ashamed that we treat another person especially one who cares for our health so badly. The media doesn't bother and neither do people. And you are right in being angry too. I hope we can personally open peoples eyes to this problem, else again most wouldn't care.

    1. Unfortunately, I too am seeing good doctors - much better doctors than myself - become disillusioned as well. Their own families are actively dissuading them from going the extra mile and working harder saying it ain't worth it just for the risk of getting killed. Who can blame them?

      This anger will soon turn to resignation of our fate, I fear... before that, I need to somehow instill some awareness at least and hope it makes a change in somebody's mind. Maybe it will stop them from beating a doctor somewhere someday.

  19. This is downright shameful! I mean really, do we Indians have any grey areas or is it just black or white for us in every situation. You save a life, you become god for us. Else you become a monster for us, who will be vicitimised so brutally. More than a lack of education, I feel its depleting humanity that is causing such unacceptable acts meted out on such a noble profession.

    1. We can do our best to save... but people will die surely. That is the basic rule of life. It is insane that after leading a life of excess, when a person gets a heart attack, we get beaten up and trashed for his death.

      And yes, depleting humanity is definitely a factor here... unfortunately the steps to curb it too are not implemented.

  20. I was appalled to read this news the other day and I have no words to express my sadness at something like this. You're right when you speak about apathy, especially media apathy. They don't care for pieces like this one. It's not good enough trp for them. For your sake and for the sake of doctors everywhere, I hope things change in the future. I sincerely do.

    1. It is that apathy which is driving dedicated doctors away now. The same cynicism which makes patients distrust doctors also causes the doctor to distrust the patient. And that can never end well... the doctor then seems no compulsion to work beyond the call of duty for the patient because he sees day in and day out the violence that his peers are subjected to for doing the right thing

  21. Thanks for sharing Doc. I want to spread the word about this. It reminds me of the outcry when and Indian died after miscarrying her child in Ireland. A tragedy, sure, but why did my country get blamed? One of the safest countries in the world to have a child. This tragedy was awful, but it was seriously not in the doctors' hands to save the woman, her case was unique.

    1. Frankly, am just tired now of the almost daily stories coming in of violence against doctors. So much goes undetected because everyone involved demands the doctors keep quiet even though they are the victims of a crime. Don't know how the next generation of doctors will survive without help.

  22. I am saddened to hear of such news Roshan and good on you for informing others of doctors' plight in India. No one, especially doctors who are trained to save lives should be killed, whether the bearer of bad news or not.

    I can only suggest a worldwide petition such as change.org or avaaz.org that brings awareness to issues and can possibly help to enforce regulations or develop laws or the like. There are other such organizations as well. Go on all of them if you need to as those can spread like wildfire and bring about change.

    Good luck and all the best to you! <3

    1. Sadly, there had been a change.org petition by his fellow students to bring some notice to his plight and the unfairness of it all. But it reached no decent numbers - people simply weren't bothered where violence against doctors are concerned. The distrust among patients against doctors ensures that the innocent get beaten up for the crimes of the guilty elsewhere.
      I honestly don't know how people can be so callous - that same formula could easily be applied to them too someday.

  23. Dr Roshan
    I agree with you on most of your points but for the defeatist attitude of not allowing your daughter to become a doctor if she wants to be one ,
    mine is one and Iam proud of it ,
    if there is doctor violence today in India and there is as i have been an active proponent of more unity in our fight against this menace the answer does not lie in shying away from our chosen or liked professions ,the answer is to fight and win ,I know its an uphill task but we need to do it .

    1. Sir, thank you for dropping by.
      Regarding the issue of violence against doctors, I've actually been writing about it in various formats for years trying to get people to stop the assaults. The viral post was just one more means to draw attention (and it worked) as it got doctors from all over the country and even abroad to finally voice their opinion and be heard by the general public.

      Having said that, I personally stand by my decision. As ai said here in the post, the idealism of being a doctor needs to be tempered with the reality of how violence against them is not even considered a crime in so many people's eyes, even when they work against such harrowing odds.
      It is my personal choice and I definitely respect yours too. My fight is in the end for the present and future generation who are being called villains and gold diggers even before they have had the chance to pass out of Mbbs.

  24. I agree you did jolt the public and probably doctors and I respect your decision too ,
    but our janta are neither affected by emotion nor by counselling

    we definitely need doctors to communicate more by writing and speaking out in forums and media and we need our voices to be heard ,because as you say the violence is abominable and i dont see any respite in near future .We need IMA to spearhead an agitation and /or use legal means to stop this once for all

    1. Sadly, you are absolutely right and yes, even I fear my words will in the end not make even the slightest dent in many a heart. Still, I need to try. If it can make atleast one person think twice before raising his hand against a doctor, it would be worth it.

      And yes, all of this in the end is with the aim of shaking some sense into out 'governing bodies' about their role and how they need to take the lead and inspire by taking a strong stand instead of this 'silent kitten' approach when it comes to what is officially a non-bailable offence.

      We can't possibly be living in a world where people get to come home and boast to their wife and kids that they lynched a doctor today and actually got paid by the hospital to end the violence and prevent further damage.

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